The May long weekend is underway and complaints over the lack of available camping spots are starting to heat up again.
There are almost no sites left at any Metro Vancouver campsites. Most spots at Golden Ears Provincial Park were booked weeks or months in advance. The rush to reserve has forced some people to take time off work with the prospect that they may not get a site at all.
Prospective campers arrived at Golden Ears as early as 1 a.m. Friday to get a last-minute spot.
“They have to figure out a better system for people or they’re going to have a lot of unhappy people,” last-minute camper Kim McCutcheon said.
At Golden Ears, the saying, “the early bird gets the campsite,” is an understatement.
The park operator tweeted at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday that 150 first-come first-serve spots were available.
By 7:30 a.m. Thursday, that number was down to 70. A little more than five hours later, the campsite was full for the weekend.
“We could probably fill a thousand campsites every weekend,” Golden Ears Park operations manager Stu Burgess said. “So we’re trying to get the message out.”
Next year, the number of first-come first-serve spots is expected to fall even further.
Despite lining up at 6 a.m. Friday, one couple told Global News they were out of luck.
“We looked at several campsites that are local — like within a two-hour drive — and they were all booked up,” Amanda Long said.
The Bouchard family was sitting pretty, having planned their long weekend getaway four months in advance. Most campsites were claimed on January 19.
“You’ve got to wake up, you’ve got to go online right away and then the computer freezes, yeah, it’s really stressful,” Erica Bouchard said.
McCutcheon’s perseverance paid off, getting one of only four sites made available Friday morning.
“We lucked out, definitely,” she said. “There’s a lot of people going to be turned away.”
— With files from John Hua